Iris DeMent has made a living as a singer and songwriter of unsettling grace, with a voice that conveys love and truth in all their glory and sorrow. It’s not a stretch, then, to realize she found a kindred spirit in Anna Akhmatova, the late Russian modernist poet who survived her country’s unrest in the 20th century, and whose own work bore hallmarks similar to DeMent’s. For “The Trackless Woods,” DeMent set some of Akhmatova’s poems to music for a collection whose stark emotional resonance — often built around little more than the words, DeMent’s homespun warble, and a piano sometimes fleshed out by stringed instruments — is closely aligned to DeMent’s best work. Recorded at home, these 18 songs favor economy and a focus on Akhmatova’s depiction of great hardships, ranging from longing to resilience. It’s heady, heart-stopping stuff. Or, as DeMent recently described it to the Globe, “It’s a record you have to stay in the room with, literally and otherwise — the emotional room.” (Out Friday)
ESSENTIAL “The Souls of All My Dears”
Iris DeMent performs at the Center for Arts in Natick on Friday at 8 p.m.